Deferred maintenance causes sewage problems at Dining Commons

Timothy Sandoval

Due to delayed maintenance, the university Dining Commons has had drainage and sewage leakage since last week, leading to closed bathrooms and the need for repairs.

Water leakage was discovered outside the building last week, and attempts to drain the water into nearby sewer vault did not work, prompting an investigation. An investigation with a special camera by Trenchless Co., a company that specializes in relining pipes, found that repairs are needed to be done to some of the underground sanitary sewage pipelines.

“We responded and are responding post haste,” said Linda Hafar, director of Facilities and Utilities at Sacramento State.

Trenchless Co. will begin repairs on Friday, Hafar said. The company was brought in because Facilities Services does not have the tools or technology to reline the pipes.

Hafar said the ballpark estimate of the first phase of relining would cost about $15,000. The cost of the second phase of relining is unknown because Trenchless Co. is having a difficulty getting one of its cameras placed in some of the pipes.

Hafar said they decided to wait until this weekend to start with the repairs to avoid inconvenience to students.

The back hallway of the Dining Commons will be closed on Friday so the company can get underground to certain pipes, said Michael Speros, director of Housing and Residential Life.

“The sewer line in question is right under the back hallway flooring so we need to close it down in order to cut out a concrete portion of the floor to gain access to the line,” Speros said in an e-mail.

The Dining Commons will also be closed on Saturday due to repairs, and its operations will be moved to the Courtyard Market in the American River Courtyard.

“Work will continue all through the night and day until Sunday morning,”Speros said.

Hafar said the deferred maintenance is due to limited resources.

The Dining Commons has a smaller budget this spring because of lower student occupancy. Occupancy is at 84 percent this spring, compared with the usual 90 percent that it has been historically around the same time, Speros said.

“I wouldn’t say it’s significant, but it’s impactful,” Speros said.

Speros said the budget for maintenance and repairs would likely have to be taken from other maintenance projects the office had planned.

“The money is there,” Speros said. “But obviously we had to move money around.”

Speros said no projects will be put on hold because of the sewage repairs. He said they already put a roofing project on hold before the leakage started, and some of the money for that project will be used for the Dining Commons emergency project.

“Ultimately something else will pop up in the future, and we have to deal with it as we have money or as we have the emergency,”Hafar said. “It’s not a good way to operate.”

Timothy Sandoval can be reached at [email protected].